Monthly Archives: August 2013
One door closes… another one opens.
When I graduated from high school, my biggest dream was to go to college to become an artist. I knew this at an extremely early age and any time someone questioned me about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always quickly replied, “an artist”. Unfortunately coming from a single parent home, my mother couldn’t afford to put me through college, as she was doing her very best just to keep food on the table. After graduation I applied for some grants, but sadly I was turned down. Naively, it was felt that we made too much money and therefore could afford to do it on our own. I was forced to put the possibility of college on the back shelf. I hoped, maybe one day down the road, I would be able to revisit the idea of college. As the years flew by, the demands of every day living pushed that dream further back on the shelf. I stumbled into sales, and was very good at it. I enjoyed what I did so much that I thought that I had found my life long career.
Not many months ago, I was fresh out of a horrible relationship, down on myself because I had to move back home to my mother’s house in Casselberry. No man of my age would feel comfortable in this situation. Feeling like I had no direction in life as a lot of things were failing around me, I found I was at a crossroads and wasn’t even sure what direction to take.
One pivotal morning, as the rain poured down outside, I awoke with the intention of simply trying to find something to put a smile on my face. I should have known this day was going to be different, as rainy days are always a sign that something great is going to happen in my life, some things are just greater than others. I started doing my normal routine of checking the Internet, beginning with my favorite social media sites. I started up the XBOX 360 to check things out there as well. One of my favorite things to do is watch YouTube videos from my XBOX; it always puts a smile on my face. I originally opened the app in hopes of finding a humorous cat video or something funny to start my day with a positive vibe. I didn’t realize this was going to change my life.
Now I have always been into video games for as long as I can remember, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Nintendo, Sega Saturn, just to name a few from my past. I also always though, it would be amazing to be able to use my art skills in these video games that I played so often. At my age and lack of formal training, I never thought that would ever be a possibility. Not for lack of confidence in myself as I feel I am a very confident person. I felt that getting into a career such as this so late in life was nearly impossible, or so I thought.
It was the very first trending video for that day entitled, “What most schools don’t teach”. I randomly clicked on it only because of the faces of famous people that inspire me. The speakers grabbed me right from the start and held on tight all the way through. It starts off with the amazing quote by one of my favorite inspirational people, Steve Jobs. “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… Because it teaches you how to think.” Other highly successful people were also in this video, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. Next thing I knew, I felt like these people were speaking directly to me. They were revealing to me how they got started in their fields, not so much with the intention of creating something that a billion people would use every day rather they were excited to learn how to make a computer do simple things, like say their name or make a square or a circle in a certain color. This video inspired me to have the courage to take the first steps toward making my hopes of being an artist a reality. The dream that had been shelved so many years ago was like an old stale box of cereal in the back of the pantry.
As I watched this video, I felt this small, extremely dim light, in the depths of my mind slowly begin to burn brighter. Five minutes and forty-four seconds later, once the video ended, the flame was ablaze and I knew I had to follow that long lost dream of mine. I felt like the creator of Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, Valve, Dropbox, and even the lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas commanded me to get up off my butt and get out there and get to that dream I forgotten twenty years ago.
My very next thought was the realization that Full Sail University was only ten minutes up the road from my mother’s house. I knew they had video game classes, and being a fan of video games for so many years I had seen a plethora of advertisements for Full Sail. My next action was to look them up on my laptop and within seconds I started browsing the website. With the excitement of a little kid on Christmas, I was clicking away on the different courses they offered. Of course after a few clicks, they wanted my phone number, address, name, and all my info so they could send me some information on this wonderful school and programs. I thought to myself, “I am sure I will get some pamphlets in the mail in a week or two and perhaps in the distant future I can learn more about this school”. So I typed in my personal information and clicked enter. I felt accomplished; I was on my way to become an artist. Without knowing what would happen next, within 12 seconds of striking the enter button, my phone rings. I thought to myself, “There is no way they can be calling so soon”. I stared at my phone with a look of confusion, it was a (407) number and I didn’t know anyone who would be brave enough to call me at this hour in the morning. I answered with a cautious voice, “Hello?” Sure enough, it was my future calling.
Here is the video that inspired me so much!
Today Elbert Perez who works for Microsoft and is also an Indie Game designer at OccasionalGamer.com joined us at Full Sail as a guest speaker. He had a lot of great information to share with us about getting into the gaming industry. He is a well-respected alumni of Full Sail who graduated in 2005 and has had an illustrious career in the gaming industry. As an Indie Game creator who has over 2 million game downloads under his belt, he had a lot to speak about in the Indie Game industry. He shared with us his experiences of getting his games published and the pros and cons of the different methods. The thing that always sticks out when these greats of the industry come in and speak is, NETWORKING! I have yet to hear one person who is in the industry say they just filled out an application and they got the job. Every person has said they got to where they are due to who they knew prior to the job. So, I will continue to network and hopefully in 3 years I will have a great Rolodex of some of the most amazing people in the industry.
The thing I love the most about these guest speakers and Q&A sessions that Full Sail hosts, is that we get to see the direct results of our efforts in action. Most of the speakers I have seen have been Full Sail alumni or they got their degree in something similar. It really inspires me to see these people come and give back to Full Sail, not just for the love of the school, but for the love of the students who are in the very seats they sat in just a few years ago. It shows us that we CAN do it, and we CAN be just like them and in hopefully a few years after graduating we can be a guest speaker that the new students of the future will want to come see.
I got my final grade for OMDT today and I am very excited to see a 97.3% as my final grade. As you can see I did have a few items that I received a lower grade then I had hoped for. Let’s just say from now on in groups I will be reviewing EVERYTHING before it is turned in and I will be like a warden to my teammates when it comes to doing presentations and getting them completed. I learned there is a very thin line between trying to let your team members do things on their own and staying on their tail to make sure they get it done.
Let’s just say “No more Mr. Nice guy”
I did get to turn in some Consideration for my final grade. I was at a 94.8% which was two tenths of a point away from me losing my 4.0 GPA. Going that extra mile does pay off in the end. I was able to pull my teacher aside at the end of class and explain my situation that I am attempting to maintain a 4.0 GPA through out my entire time here at Full Sail. Only due to the fact the rest of my grades we immaculate and the fact that I was a very active student in her class she allowed for it. So it just goes to show that being a great student can have its perks. I would like to thank all my teachers from OMDT for making it a very fun and memorable class.